The Fight to Stop the Inhumane Treatment of Bears
June 27, 2021

The Fight to Stop the Inhumane Treatment of Bears

All over the world, bears are subjected to various hardships such as captivity, torture, bear trafficking, being hunted, climate change and many more.

Two polar bears in the artic looking at the camera.

Image Credit: Unsplash

In this article, we'll look at the horrific challenges facing bears and what we can do to stop them from going into extinction.

 

In North America and Asia, the illegal poaching of bears has become the order of the day.

 

Over there, bears are slaughtered for their skin, claws, human consumption, as trophies and finally, for native Chinese medicine.

 

Although not all species of bears are critically facing extinction; six species are currently of concern:

 

  • Polar bear – vulnerable

  • Panda bear – Vulnerable

  • Black bear – Least concern

  • Grizzly bear – Least concern

  • Spectacled bear – Vulnerable

  • Sun bear – Vulnerable

 

Meanwhile, all species enjoy protection from the Convention from International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES).

 

CITES regulation has clamped down on the hunting and poaching of selected bear species as long as it threatens their existence.

 

In several South Asian countries, it is illegal to hunt native bear species or trade their parts. However, there's little enforcement of the law, which is why there's a massive spike in bear poaching.

Baby bear in captivity - poaching.

 Image Credit: The conversation

The Asian sun bear, sloth bear and black bear enjoy the most protection at the international stage, which prohibits international trade.

 

In Asia, bears are hunted down illegally and sold to the highest bidder as pets or to local medicine men who own bear bile farms where they harvest bile from the bear’s gall bladder to produce herbs.

 

Bile harvesting in bears can last for decades as the bear is kept in captivity to be operated upon whenever bile needs to be extracted.

 

In 2016, a report by research gate showed that over 20,000 bears were projected to be held captive in bile farms located in South Korea, China and Vietnam.

 

Furthermore, another report revealed that several countries are either consumers or members of the supply chain.

 

The rate at which humans abuse bears cuts across country lines.

The 2012 IUCN Resolution

The International Union for Conservation of Nature resolved that bear bile farms should be eradicated.

 

After the resolution was made, there was less demand for bile products.

 

A survey was carried out into the consumption of bear bile products and its results revealed that the consumption of bile products reduced by 61 percent from 2009 to 2014.

 

However, in China and Japan, bear products are regulated, but China still produces them and exports them to Southeast Asia regardless of international control.

 

China has always been an entry and exit point for black market trafficking bears or bear products.

What are the major bear threats?

Bears face many challenges in their lifetime, including loss of habitat, captivity, torture, bear trafficking, being hunted, climate change, and many more.

 

So, let’s dive into some of these challenges in no particular order.

Big grizzly bear sitting in field.

 Image Credit: Unsplash

 

Loss of habitat

When it comes to the loss of habitats, all eight species of bears are affected. For some species, the increased land areas for agriculture have encroached on their natural habitat, which is a significant issue.

 

For instance, the Malayan sun bear is exclusively losing its habitat to oil palm plantations.

 

Furthermore, logging, mining, road construction, tree plantation and human-caused fires also contribute to bears losing their habitat.

Bear poaching

In Asia, bear parts are in huge demand, especially their gallbladder and bile, which are used to make native Asian medicines.

Some bears are bought for human consumption, while others are hunted for sport.

Global warming

Regarding global warming, the polar bears are the poster species that are most affected by it. Several scientists have projected that there won’t be any summer Arctic ice in the next 100 years.

 

This information is significant because polar bears depend on this ice to reach their dens and to hunt. They hunt seals from ice platforms. They also need the ice to travel long distances, otherwise they would have to swim and young polar bears may not have the energy to swim long distances.

Bear hunting

In many regions, bear hunting is a legally controlled activity. However, some bear species are threatened by this controlled act, and this is where the problem lies.

Human conflicts

As bears are chased out of their natural habitat, they are forced into human-owned properties searching for food and shelter.

 

They are seen in places like garbage cans, trash dumps, etc.

 

Naturally, bears are not aggressive creatures; however, the more they co-exist with humans, the more likely they are to get threatened by humans who will trigger the bear to fight back.

 

Whenever a bear gets provoked into an attack on humans, the provoked bear is often shot.

Brown bear looking at camera.

Image Credit: Unsplash

What is being done to protect bears?


Hunting regulations protect the bears in some parts of Canada. For instance, in Alberta and British Columbia, there are hunting restrictions in place.

 

In Alberta, it’s illegal to hunt Grizzly bears. In British Columbia, there is a penalty for possession or selling of bear body parts.

 

In Manitoba, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Labrador, Grizzly bears have no legal status.

 

Aside from regulations, here’s what we can also do to protect bears.

 

Save The Bears Project

The Save The Bears Project is an organization whose mission is to free, save and protect bears worldwide.

 

Our goal is to spread the word about bears and their role on earth, which excludes torture and the many challenges that they face and we can't do it alone.

 

We need your support.

 

To raise funds for our quest to save the bears, we have a collection of exceptional Bear-themed items on sale like teddy bears and jewelry that you can purchase to support a good cause.

 

A good portion of all the sales that we make and direct donations will be channeled towards writing and publishing bear-related content to educate the public.

 

We'll also create eco-friendly bear-inspired items, using paid ads to raise awareness about bears and the challenges facing them, among many other things.

 

Get in touch with us today for any inquiries and thanks for your support in advance.